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Regional Assessment of the Effects of Land-Use Change on Landslide Hazard By Means of Physically Based Modelling


  • L.P.H. Van Beek
  • Th.W.J Van Asch


Physically based models are capable of evaluating the effects of environmental changes through adaptations in their parameters. For landslide hazard zonation, this gives them an edge over traditional, statistically based techniques that require large datasets and often lack the objectivity to achieve the same purpose. Therefore, physical models can be valuable tools for hazard assessment and planning purposes.The usefulness of the model prognosis depends largely on the ability of the physical model to mimic the landscape system. This implies that the model should be calibrated and validated and that the imposed changes do not lead to a radical departure from the present situation.Under the recognition of these constraints, a physically based model has been applied to a 1.5 km 2 catchment in the Alcoy region (SE Spain) to evaluate the effects of land use change on landslide activity. The model couples a transient, distributed hydrological model with a probabilistic assessment of the slope stability. Thus, it is able to assess the spatial and temporal activity of slope instability. For the present situation, validation demonstrates that the probability of failure returns a conservative estimate of the spatial frequency of landsliding. The model has subsequently been applied to two hypothetical land use change scenarios that extrapolate present and likely trends. For these scenarios, the model results indicate a marginal decrease in the spatial frequency of landsliding (aerial extent of instability). However, the decrease in the temporal activity (is total duration of instability over a given period) is substantial under the altered land use conditions. The forecasted change in landslide activity not only affects the relative weight of slope processes in the region. It also has implications for the perceived hazard levels and the landslide hazard zonation of the area. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • L.P.H. Van Beek & Th.W.J Van Asch, 2004. "Regional Assessment of the Effects of Land-Use Change on Landslide Hazard By Means of Physically Based Modelling," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 31(1), pages 289-304, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:nathaz:v:31:y:2004:i:1:p:289-304
    DOI: 10.1023/B:NHAZ.0000020267.39691.39

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    Cited by:

    1. Caterina Melchiorre & Paolo Frattini, 2012. "Modelling probability of rainfall-induced shallow landslides in a changing climate, Otta, Central Norway," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 413-436, July.


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